Baylor Research Institute, Novartis sign license agreement for canakinumab

Baylor Research Institute, the research arm of Baylor Health Care System, announced that it has signed an agreement with Novartis to non-exclusively license Baylor's patents pertaining to the treatment of Systemic Onset Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (SJIA, or SOJIA) using interleukin-1 beta antagonists.

On May 10 the FDA has approved Ilaris® (canakinumab) for the treatment of active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA) in patients aged 2 years and older. Ilaris is the first interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) inhibitor approved for SJIA and the only treatment approved specifically for SJIA that is given as a once-monthly subcutaneous injection.

"This agreement adds to the success and reputation of the scientists and the scientific platform at Baylor Research Institute," said Dr. Michael A.E. Ramsay, president. "The institute is a world-class center for human immunology research, and this is an excellent example of precision medicine."

Approximately five to 15 U.S. children per 100,000 suffer from SJIA, a debilitating condition that can result in long-term disabilities. Many patients do not respond to conventional treatments or experience serious side effects, resulting in a great unmet need for safe, effective treatments.

At Baylor Research Institute, Virginia Pascual, MD, and colleagues have shown that over-secretion of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) plays a significant role in SJIA and, most important, that blocking IL-1 beta activity is clinically beneficial.

"It is very rewarding to learn that our original findings have now been validated in multicenter trials involving hundreds of children around the world," Dr. Pascual said. "The best part is that we now have an effective treatment for an otherwise devastating disease."

SOURCE Baylor Research Institute

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